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Natural UAE

CLICK FOR SECTION MAP Saxaul 'dew forest'

A small belt of two to three metre high saxaul trees (Haloxylon persicum) found inland to the south of Abu Dhabi has been dubbed the 'dew forest' on account of its foliage dripping condensation. The plant essentially waters itself, as any dew that so forms will drip onto the ground around the plant before it evaporates. This fog moisture is clearly of great importance to the saxaul because it has a highly restricted distribution locally, covering an area of something under 2000 square kilometres (less than 1 per cent of the total area of the UAE). Climatologically the entire area is therefore as interesting as it is ecologically.

Wildlife to be found in the saxaul zone includes an abundance of Arabian hares (Lepus capensis), gerbils (Gerbillus sp.), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and overwintering eagles (Aquila sp.), stone curlews (Burhinus oedicnemus), desert wheatears (Oenanthe deserti) and desert warblers (Sylvia nana). The area is currently under study and is expected to be included in a network of protected areas in Abu Dhabi emirate.

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